In February of this year in Maryland, a young pregnant woman lost her baby, and her life. She was thirty-three weeks along. Some quick math will translate that to eight months and a quarter - mere weeks from birth.
Late-term abortion doctor LeRoy Carhart told Jennifer Morbelli that there was something wrong with her baby - a fetal abnormality - and that an abortion was her way out. He portrayed his procedure as a solution, but he wound up fatally injuring Jennifer instead. And it's not the first time something like this has happened under Carhart.
With Carhart's Germantown Reproductive Health Services under investigation by the Maryland Board of Physicians, some notable details are becoming public. Chief among them is the fact that GRHS was not being regularly inspected at the time prior to Jennifer's and Madison's deaths. In fact, GRHS got its license without ever having been inspected at all.
Such circumstances are not rare in the abortion industry. In January of this year, city officials forced the closure of Women's Medical Services, an abortion clinic in Muskegon, Michigan, due to "a considerable amount of fire safety and health issues," according to the Muskegon's fire marshal.(The local reporter covering the story described the conditions as "downright disgusting.") "No state or local health agency routinely inspected" the clinic, leaving many to wonder: how can surgical centers like this one not qualify for regulation?
Last year, the Huffington Post revealed that "some [abortion] facilities" in Illinois "had gone up to 15 years without inspections" - with one clinic owner complaining of feeling "victimized" by the "surprise inspection." (State regulators wound up closing two clinics.)
Of course, doctors, restaurateurs, and funeral directors never bat an eye at such scrutiny. In these industries and many others, where the lives and health of human beings are of primary concern, there's no such thing as a "surprise" inspection. So why is the abortion industry different?
But, more alarming than any of this is Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist now on trial for the eight counts of murder, who used scissors to snip the spinal cords of newborn babies. It was Gosnell who prompted the long-dormant inspections in Illinois: he left a trail of violations, including counts too gruesome to detail here, all the way back to 1989 - with no punishment or regulation by state authorities. Even when the Philadelphia Department of Health was notified that a woman in Gosnell's clinic had suffered a torn uterus and an emergency hysterectomy, state officials did nothing.
Then there is 24-year-old Tonya Reaves. Last July, a Chicago Planned Parenthood perforated Tonya's uterus, putting her in immediate mortal danger. But, they waited five hours to call the hospital, during which time Tonya bled to death.
In Germantown, Jennifer Morbelli underwent a dangerous late-term abortion, and when life-threatening complications arose, neither she nor her family - nor, for that matter, the doctors who received her in the emergency room - could reach LeRoy Carhart.
We have here an enterprise that regularly performs dangerous surgical procedures, with no meaningful regulation whatsoever. Even when there are inspections, violations go unaddressed.
According to the American Action Forum, the cost of regulations under President Obama was up to $488 billion back in September of last year. There were 6,705 regulations to track in 2011, and over 4,700 in 2012. The Obama administration has written regulations for the Affordable Care Act alone (with hundreds more on the way). Regulations are clearly increasing, yet the abortion industry is left completely to its own devices. How can this be?
Live Action's investigations have shown that abortion clinics across the country often mislead and misinform patients about how dangerous the procedure is. But, our government still compels taxpayer funding of this unregulated industry - Planned Parenthood alone got $542 million in taxpayer money in 2011, up $60 million from 2010. That's a 12% increase despite a struggling economy.
Planned Parenthood is the largest seller of abortions in America, with over 700 clinics nationwide. It also came out of 2012 with $87 million in excess revenue and net assets of over $1.2 billion. This organization casts itself as a women's health care provider, even advertising services it doesn't actually provide, such as mammograms (it refers all patients), while terminating hundreds of thousands of pre-born babies every year and counseling an untold number of trusting women, like Tonya Reaves, that the abortion procedure is safe.
How can an industry involved in these types of surgical procedures remain largely unregulated, or serve a compelling enough state interest to get almost half its budget from American taxpayers, regardless of their moral objections to abortion - and qualify as a tax-exempt non-profit?
LeRoy Carhart was given free rein by our government, and he ended a woman's life, along with her baby's. No hospital - in fact, no tattoo parlor - enjoys the "looking the other way" privileges abortion clinics across the United States take advantage of.
An industry with such a reckless track record, involved in terminating human lives, and putting women in harm's way during the process, should be highly regulated. And it should not be receiving taxpayer funding for these "services."
This is not only a defense of life issue; it is a defense of women issue.
It is time for federal and state authorities to take a more in-depth look at what is happening inside America's abortion clinics. Regardless of where one may stand on abortion, we all need to rethink whether Americans should be forced to fund it.